Saturday, 28 May 2011

Polemos: A breakthrough?

I had one bit of good news yesterday; I received a message from Dr David Charles Ballinger Griffith's great granddaughter about POLEMOS!

It appears that she saw my blog entries about POLEMOS, read about my attempts to find out more information about Dr Griffith, and decided to get in contact with me. Furthermore, she informed me that she has an incomplete copy of the game, including the rules, which she is looking after for her cousin!

She has very kindly agreed to send me scans of the rules at soon as she can, and once she has I hope to be able to transcribe them. I will then see it it will be possible to recreate the game so that it can be demonstrated to a wider public at some time in the future.

12 comments:

  1. Conrad Kinch,

    I hope so. It will fill a gap in the history of wargaming, and seems to prove that H G Wells was following in a tradition of 'amateur' wargame designers, and not the progenitor of that tradition (I know that this statement will be blasphemy to some ears, but there is increasing evidence to support this point of view).

    All the best,

    Bob

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  2. Ahh. Nothing that the radical in me loves better than dispelling accepted conventional thought.

    Well done on uncovering Polemos a bit farther.

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  3. Ross Mac,

    I understand that there was a set of rules produced by Britains that pre-date 'Little Wars' and that may have influenced H G Wells' rules. I know someone who has a copy, and I hope to transcribe them in dur course.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Bob

    That's excellent news, I've also managed to get into contact with an owner of the game and asked for a copy of the rules but no response yet. You beat me to it - curses!

    Nick

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  5. Bob,
    This is excellent news!

    From my memory of my Xerox copy of the ILN article on Polemos - which I have still to find amongst my papers - Polemos was aimed more at a professional, military audience than Little Wars, and, whilst using toy soldiers to indicate troop positions, did not use shooting of projectiles to determine casualties.

    There are several examples of amateur - by which I presume is meant civilians as opposed to military men - wargame designers prior to Wells: von Reisswitz's father, who created the miltary training game that his son developed into kriegsspiel, was a civil servant, and RL Stevenson, who played wargames with his stepson was the writer son of a civil engineer. But - since RLS never published his rules - Wells is, perhaps rightly, seen as the progenitor of wargaming with model soldiers as an entertainment, rather than professional training.

    I look forward to reading the Polemos rules in due course very much.

    Arthur

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  6. Nick101,

    It would be worth comparing both if that is possible. It may well be that there is more than one edition of the rules as they seem to have been developed over quite some time.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Arthur1815,

    It is excellent news, and if I can get a copy of the rules I would hope to have them included in one of John Curry's 'History of Wargaming' books.

    I understand that William Dawson has managed to get his hands on a copy of Britains book of wargame rules. These pre-date H G Wells' 'Little Wars', and from what William Dawson has written about them, they share some similarities with Wells' rules. Perhaps Wells used them as the basis of his own rules? A closer study of both might be an interesting project for someone!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Bob,
    I was just wondering if you ever got the copy of Polemos rules?
    Regards, John

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  9. Jhnptrqn,

    Funnily enough I was discussing this earlier this week with a representative of RUSI (which is where the game was originally demonstrated).

    I am still trying to get hold of a copy of the rules, but of the two copies I know about the owner of one will not let me have a copy (he thinks that by owning the original he owns it's copyright!) and the owner of the other keeps promising to send a copy ... but has not done so as yet.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Jhnptrqn,

    It was my pleasure ... and if there are any developments, I will certainly let blog readers know with a blog entry.

    All the best,

    Bob

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